After I finished the previous book of the series my reaction was, "Where the heck is Cowardly Lion and more importantly Dorothy?" I am an adult of twenty first century, but the reactions of kids of the early twentieth century were very similar. In fact L. Frank Baum admitted this in the preface for this installment.
And so the author had to include these in this book somehow. He did, which gradually lead to overpopulation of the Land of Oz in the following books: more characters were introduced, but all of the ones from the previous books had to have some screen time.
Anyway, Dorothy accompanied her uncle on his trip to Australia. Their ship ended up in a huge storm with captain ordering all the passengers to stay inside of their cabins. What is the first thing Dorothy did when left alone? She went outside to be promptly washed overboard. Luckily for her instead of drowning she managed to reach dry land which also happened to be quite close to Oz. She hoped people of Oz would help her to get back to her uncle.
For me this tale was a definite improvement from the previous one. There were no inconsistencies and plot holes that plagued The Marvelous Land of Oz. I hesitated between 3 and 4 stars as I read the book and ended up with a lower rating for two reasons.
Dorothy acquired godawful accent. What the heck happened? She did not have one before. Why oh why did she begin speaking like a hardcore hillbilly when she became a little older?
Everybody's favorite ruler of Oz, Ozma is plain arrogant. She came to a foreign land to ask its ruler for a favor and she demanded
an audience. Really? I guess just asking for it is below her. This girl is supposed to be a model for impressionable young girls.
Other than these problems the book was good enough. You will have interesting adventures and meet interesting characters: Billina is good and so is Hungry Tiger, but Tik-Tok feels like a slightly altered Tin Woodman.
My final verdict is the following: if you like book 2, this one is worth reading.